Posted by on September 21, 2022 3:42 pm
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Florida asks Supreme Court to consider controversial social media law

The state of Florida filed a petition to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear a case against its embattled law regulating how social media platforms moderate content, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Hill.

Florida asked the high court to weigh in after a court of appeals in May blocked major provisions of the law, ruling in favor of tech industry groups that filed a case against it. The groups argued that it infringes on First Amendment rights and could lead to more dangerous content and hate speech online. 

Florida’s law seeks to prohibit tech companies from banning users or moderating content based on political views. It was passed after mounting accusations from members of the GOP that tech platforms are censoring content with anti-conservative biases, an allegation that became more common following Twitter and Facebook’s suspensions of former President Trump’s accounts. 

A Texas law similar to the one passed in Florida notched a major win in court last week when the Fifth Circuit court of appeals upheld the measure. The law restricts social media companies from removing users or violative content. The court’s decision lifted a previous injunction by the Supreme Court, allowing the measure to take effect.

The brief filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) references the Fifth Circuit’s decision last week to uphold the Texas law. The decision by the Eleventh Circuit to block the Florida law “squarely conflicts” with the ruling for Texas, she wrote.

It is widely anticipated for the Supreme Court to hear a case on either the Florida or Texas law, weighing in on the conflicting rulings from the circuit courts.

Matt Schruers, president of the Computers and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) which is suing Florida along with NetChoice, said he agrees that the Supreme Court should hear the case. 

“With state legislatures considering a greater role for governments in online speech, the question of whether a government can compel social media services to disseminate content violating their policies is destined for the Supreme Court,” Schruers said in a statement.

The Hill has reached out to Moody’s office for additional information and comment.

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